The whole story

The author of Proverbs 30 states “Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him Add thou not unto his words lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6). The topics covered in the Bible are extensive. I think it is safe to assume that any circumstance that we may encounter in life is dealt with in the Bible. The reason why God’s word is recorded is because he is the ultimate authority on everything pertaining to life. That is why his word is referred to as pure. It is qualified to do the work it is intended to (6884).

The work that God’s word is intended to do is protect us. Life is filled with unpredictable and unexpected situations that we often have to deal with in the moment, without the advice of an expert. If we knew what was coming, we might be able to prepare ourselves or learn enough to avoid making a mistake, but the most difficult circumstances seem to come immediately, without any warning.

Agur’s warning to “add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:6) has to do with Moses’ command to the Israelites shortly before they entered the Promised Land. In essence, Moses told the people that God’s word was like a legal contract, each of his promises were like an article or clause that was legally binding. If anything was added that God did not agree to, it could make the contract null and void, which is what happened and why Jesus made a new covenant or contract when he came to the earth.

Some people think the Old Testament is invalid, it does not apply to Christians. That is probably why from a prophetic standpoint Agur, the author of Proverbs 30, was led to say that “every word of God is pure” (vs. 5). Even though the Old Testament does not necessarily apply to Christians, it contains valuable lessons about the mistakes the Israelites made. Like parents that provide us with examples of all the wrong things to do, so the Israelites’ failures are relevant lessons that God teaches us using real life examples.

Preview of coming attraction

Solomon’s wisdom was recognized by everyone as a gift from God. It says in 2 Chronicles 9:23, “And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.” The Hebrew word translated wisdom, chokmâh (khok – maw´) is derived from the word châkam (khaw – kam´) which means to be wise. “This word represents the discernment of good and evil, prudence in secular matters, skill in arts, and experience in Divine things. It is moral rather than intellectual; it is the adaptation of what we know to what we have (and ought) to do” (2449).

Chokmah or wisdom “is the knowledge and the ability to make right choices at the opportune time. The consistency of making the right choices is an indication of maturity and development” (2451). Solomon may have prayed for wisdom because he was young and inexperienced when he became king. His father’s sins of adultery and murder must have made Solomon fearful of making the same kinds of mistakes. Even though Solomon sinned by marrying foreign wives, his moral track record was impressive considering the wealth and resources he had access to.

The wisdom that Solomon received is compared to the fruit of the Spirit that is manifested in the lives of believers (2451). It is remarkable to think that any and every Christian can be as wise as Solomon was. The apostle Paul said, “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Although it does not state specifically that Solomon was filled with the Holy Spirit, it is possible that the reference to his wisdom, “that God put in his heart” (2 Chronicles 9:23) meant that he was indwelt by the Spirit just as believers are today.

Practice makes perfect

The concept of time is relative to experience. The more experience we have with something, the less we become aware of time while doing it. Therefore, the more we do something, the less time it seems to take. Eventually, we may reach a level of experience where we lose track of time or become completely unaware of time while doing something. It is at that point when eternity or “time out of mind” (5769) begins to make sense to us.

Solomon said that “to every purpose there is time and judgment” (Ecclesiastes 8:6) and “better is the end of a thing than the beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Sometimes we avoid a certain experience because we think we won’t like it or it might turn out badly. Therefore, we do not reach a point where we can see things from an eternal perspective. For example, a person gets divorced and decides to never remarry because the breakup was too painful.

Solomon said, “then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done” (Ecclesiastes 8:17). The words translated work and done are associated with practice. They refer to something that is done habitually, a lifestyle that has become a way of life. It is difficult to get an eternal perspective on something if you only do it once, especially if you don’t get to see the outcome or end result. From an eternal perspective, a bad result is better than no result if you learn from your mistake.

 

A more excellent way

The saying “ignorance is bliss” is probably more true than most people realize. Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived said, “for in much wisdom is much grief and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). I remember distinctly how I felt the night I found out my husband was having an affair. It was like a knife had pierced my heart. I sobbed uncontrollably and laid awake all night trying to process what I had heard. The pain was so severe, I actually thought the truth might kill me.

There were many times after that night that I wished my husband hadn’t told me what was going on. I wondered why he couldn’t have kept it to himself. I wanted to go back to the way things were when I thought he was a good man that could never do such a thing. My husband was a Christian, at least that was what he had led me to believe.

At the end of his life, Solomon looked back and decided “that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13). The word translated excelleth, yithrown means preeminence or surpassing all others (3504). Yithrown is derived from the word yathar which means to exceed or excel (3498). Sometimes the word yathar indicates survivors and reflects the idea of a remnant, such as when Israel is dispersed throughout the world and a remnant survives and returns to the Promised Land. (Ezekiel 6:8).

It was very difficult for me to see the reality of what was going on around me and to know the truth about my marriage. As time went on, I was able to trust God and learn from my experience. Ultimately, I became a different person and began to understand what I had done wrong and why my marriage had failed.

Memory

Buried deep within the unconscious mind are a million memories of things that have happened over a lifetime. It says in Proverbs 25:2 that “it is the glory of God to conceal a thing.” One of the reasons we cannot think as God does or understand his way of doing things is because we have so little access to the information that is stored in our brains. Most of the time we are inundated with too much information, more than our brains can process efficiently. Sometimes it may seem as if certain memories are hidden from us. It is as if they have been stored in a secret compartment that we no longer have access to.

Over the past few years, I have been going through a process of recovering memories associated with being raped when I was a teenager. During a conversation with my sister, I learned that she had shared information with someone that I thought was a secret between just the two of us. The knowledge of what had happened caused a shift in my thinking and suddenly everything connected to the event we were talking about became clear to me, it all made sense.

In spite of Solomon’s supernatural wisdom, it appears that he was unable to reflect on past mistakes or make sense of patterns in his own behavior. In Proverbs 25:3, Solomon said, “the heart of kings is unsearchable.” Solomon believed that God controlled his heart (Proverbs 21:1) to the extent that all his actions were divinely ordained. Solomon could not turn to the right or the left without God directing his footsteps (Proverbs 16:9), therefore his thought processes  were limited.

In order for us to understand why we do the things we do, we must be able to access our unconscious minds. It is possible that Solomon was referring to this when he said, “the heart of kings is unsearchable” because according to the Hebrew language, memory is an activity of the heart (3820). Just as trauma can cause various types of amnesia, so may God block certain memories in order to accomplish his purposes.

Mommy

The best seven years of my life were the ones when I was a stay-at-home mom. On the day my daughter was born I knew I had found my calling. When I saw her for the first time, I immediately fell in love and after 33 years, I love her just as much now as I ever have. I didn’t know until it actually happened to me that being a mom would be the best thing for me. When I was growing up, I never thought about being a mom, but I’m sure it is what God created me to be.

When God creates things or people, he does it with wisdom. It says about wisdom in Proverbs 8:22-23, “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” The word translated wisdom, chokmah “can refer to technical skills or special abilities in fashioning something. Chokmah is the knowledge and the ability to make the right choices at the opportune time. The consistency of making right choices is an indicator of maturity and development” (2451).

At the time God created me, he had a purpose in mind for every characteristic and trait he gave me. In his design, God established certain abilities in me that would enable me to live my life according to his plan. Before I became a Christian, I was not concerned with God’s plan, nor did I care if what I was doing was pleasing to God. When I got pregnant with my daughter, even though I was not married, I didn’t think it was a mistake. I believed that God wanted me to be a mom, so I chose to continue with the pregnancy rather than have an abortion.

Consent

On the night I was raped, when I was 14, I was spending the night at my friend Bernadette’s house. After I arrived, I found out Bernadette’s mom had gone out for the night and her boyfriend Tom was taking care of her eight children. Tom was a drug dealer and that night one of his sellers came over for a visit. The two of them went into the bedroom and shut the door so they could try out Tom’s new product in private. I was invited to join them and in spite of my reservations, I did.

The book of Proverbs contains advice from Solomon, the wisest man that has ever lived. In his warnings against violence, Solomon said, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not” (Proverbs 1:10). The Hebrew word translated as entice, pâthâh (paw – thaw´) in a sinister way, means to delude or deceive. Pathah is also translated as persuade, allure, and flatter (6601). The Hebrew verb that is translated as consent has to do with a person’s will. Abah “basically represents the inclination which leads towards action, rather than the volition which immediately precedes it” (14). To consent to something means that you are willing to do it, you are not being forced.

The invitation I received to join Tom’s private party was enticing. Because I had never smoked marijuana, I thought Tom was right when he encouraged me to at least try it. There couldn’t be any harm in taking one little puff. I didn’t know that Tom had something completely different in mind when he invited me into his bedroom. After I took one puff, I blacked out and didn’t regain consciousness until I was on the bed, half naked, with Tom on top of me, forcing me to have sexual intercourse with him.

And

When God answered Solomon’s prayer for wisdom and knowledge, God did not just give him wisdom and knowledge, God gave Solomon wisdom, knowledge, and wealth.

And God said to Solomon, because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life, but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyselft that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like. (2 Chronicles:11-12)

Typically, God only gives us what we ask for. It says in James 4:2, “ye have not, because ye ask not.” In general, we understand that we need to ask God for what we want, but in Solomon’s case, God gave Solomon something he didn’t ask for… and maybe didn’t want. It is not clear whether Solomon wanted wealth, but didn’t ask for it or God decided to give Solomon wealth even though or because he didn’t want it.

It’s hard to imagine that Solomon, or anyone else for that matter, would not want to be wealthy. It could have been that Solomon was not interested in material possessions, but more than likely, Solomon already had everything he wanted as far as material possessions go. King David was a rich man and probably gave his son everything he asked for. The one thing David couldn’t give his son was wisdom because wisdom only comes from God.

Prior to Solomon, people relied on casting lots to determine the will of God. It may not have occurred to them that they could possess wisdom and be able to discern the will of God without having to ask every time a new situation came up. Knowing the will of God was probably important to Solomon because he didn’t want to make mistakes like his father David had. King David’s affair with Bath-sheba and murder of her husband Uriah caused his family a great deal of pain and suffering. When Nathan the prophet confronted David with his sin, he used a story of greed to depict David’s actions.

In spite of his youth, I believe Solomon was already a wise man when he asked God to give him wisdom and knowledge. Only a wise man would realize that wealth was not the answer to success. I think God gave Solomon wealth because God knew he was wise enough to not abuse it. Solomon was not concerned with impressing other people and was content with what he already had.

An understanding heart

“In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee” (1 Kings 3:5). Solomon’s prayer for wisdom resulted in God making him the wisest man to ever live (1 Kings 3:12). Solomon’s request was for an understanding heart that would enable him to “discern between good and bad (1 Kings 3:9). The word translated understanding, shâma‘ (shaw – mah´) means to hear intelligently and also to give undivided attention (8085). The word shama appears frequently in the Psalms in reference to God hearing the prayers of David. God gave Solomon a supernatural ability that made it possible for Solomon to achieve mental excellence without studying a single subject or experiencing anything himself.

An example of Solomon’s wise decision-making is recorded in 1 Kings 3:16-27. In this particular case, two women are claiming to be the mother of the same child. After hearing their story, Solomon orders the child to be divided into two and half given to each of the women. His shocking decree prompts the real mother to give up her half so that the child can live (1 Kings 3:25-26). What is clear from this example is that Solomon is an expert in human behavior. Solomon understood that a mother’s love for her child should prompt her to sacrifice her own well being for that of her child. Most likely, Solomon knew from the beginning which of the two women was the real mother based on her facial expressions and demeanor, but he chose to let the real mother decide the outcome. It was the real mother’s unselfishness that allowed her to keep her child. If she had agreed to divide the child, rather than give him up, both of the women would have left empty handed.

Solomon was endowed with special abilities given to him by God, not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the people he ruled over. As the king of Israel, Solomon had the power to decide people’s fate. If he made good decisions, the people would thrive and prosper. If he made bad decisions, the people would become corrupt and dishonesty would ruin relationships. In the case of the two women claiming to be the mother of the same child, one of the women was lying. Because her lie was discovered, she was no longer able to take advantage of the women she lived with. As they both went back home, the real mother and her child reunited, the woman that lied probably wondered to herself, How did Solomon figure it out? I thought for sure I could convince him that I was the real mother.